The Saint James, the long-awaited joint venture from industry vets Michael Schulson (Sampan, Izakaya) and Rob Wasserman (Rouge, 500 Degrees) opens in Ardmore’s Suburban Square this afternoon. The all-American bistro is a first for the newly formed partnership. Schulson explained that he handles the kitchen, staffing and menus, while Wasserman handles the business side of things. They’ve appointed former Talula’s Garden chef, Matt Moon, to oversee the culinary operations. “It’s working out really well,” Schulson told Grub. “It kind of seems like the perfect marriage. Here we are ready to open, and we haven’t killed each other yet.”
The restaurant, which seats 80 in the dining room, another 30 at the bar, and up to 60 more outside on the patio (weather permitting), was designed by Chris Sheffield of Philadelphia’s SLDesign. Schulson describes the look and feel as being a hybrid of a mid-sixties living room in the Hamptons, and Stephen Starr’s British pub The Dandelion. SLD outfittd the bar and dining rooms with plush leather booths, and handsome wooden tables. Floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights ensures there’s ample natural light.
The menu is a bit of departure for Schulson, who has spent much of his career working within the parameters of the Asian palette. Saint James is as American as the South Philly inspired roast pork sandwich, and the house-ground brisket burger that are on its menu.
“This is the kind of stuff I grew up cooking,” Schulson explained. “I kind of got pigeonholed into Asian, so it’s kind of nice to be cooking something that doesn’t require reaching into the well of soy sauce every time.”
In addition to the aforementioned sandwiches, The Saint James menu also features raw bar options, roast chicken, a killer matzoh ball soup, Peekytoe crab toast with lemon aioli and dill, and a tri tip steak with shallot and compound butter. The bar has an extensive selection of wines by the glass, local and craft beers, and classic cocktails. Click here for a peek at the menu.
The Saint James, 30 Parking Plaza, Ardmore, (610) 649-6200